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Is IPTV Legal? Everything You Need to Know

netflix How North Americans consume TV has changed significantly over the years. Traditional satellite or cable have been losing ground to cheaper options that use the internet to provide improved audio and video, as well as a broader selection of programming. Residents all over North America are “cutting the cord” in big numbers and looking for cheaper alternatives. But are Americans protected when it comes to IP Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) ? How about other jurisdictions? For example, is IPTV legal in Canada?

However, while many services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and DAZN are legitimate IPTV operators, many companies offer premium, pay-per-view or subscription services for free or at a low cost.

The question of whether IPTV is legal is surprisingly complex. Many traditional broadcast TV stations now provide apps to watch IPTV. Therefore, IPTV is perfectly legal if digital rights laws are being respected.

However, other services are dubious or in direct contravention of digital rights laws. These forms of IPTV are not legal. Deals from grey market companies can offer consumers upwards of 3,000 channels for as little as $15 a month. Remember, when offers seem to be far too good to be true—it’s usually because they are.

What are the Different kinds of IPTV?

Consumers can access IPTV in a variety of ways. Video-on-demand services like Netflix are used to watch licenced films and videos. Live Broadcast IPTV is used for live events and sports. Additionally, time-shifted IPTV works by recording live content. Some IPTV providers offer a mix of all three.

Video on Demand

Video-on-demand services included familiar names like:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • CBS All Access
  • Apple TV
  • And more.

Video-on-demand services own the rights to a certain number of TV shows and movies, and you can watch this on-demand over the internet on a streaming device or TV..

Live Broadcaster

Live Broadcaster IPTV is a live feed (similar to cable or satellite) watched in real-time. The difference, of course, is that it is streamed over the internet.

Time-Shifted IPTV

Time-shifted IPTV allows users to record live TV programs. This means specific live broadcasts can be recorded and stored on an internal disk and watched later.

Cable Companies vs IPTV

There are a number of advantages that IPTV holds over cable companies.

#1. It’s Portable

Consumers can only watch a traditional cable or satellite subscription in a set place. IPTV gives them the flexibility to watch it over their phone, tablets, regardless of their location..

#2. Costs 

Cost can be cheaper. Buying bundles for video, sports, and kids TV can add up, however. Many cord-cutters resent high cable costs, especially if they are paying for channels they don’t watch. Mixing and matching a few providers can be a smart move.

#3. Choice

An IPTV service can offer a consumer a greater choice of channels than traditional cable. This is a massive plus for many consumers.

#4. Quality 

Depending on the area, some cable or satellite receptions are poor. IPTV can be a significant improvement if internet speeds are sufficient.

Why Are Illegal IPTV Streams A Bad Idea?

There are a few reasons why consumers should be cautious around illegal IPTV services.

 #1. Consumer Protection

Companies illegally streaming copyrighted content or distributing media without the right holder’s permission are breaking the law. This means they could exit with your money at any time or be shut down by authorities, leaving you out of pocket.

#2. Malware & Viruses

Many illegal streaming sites attract users to their site with the offer of free live TV or shows. However, often the sites contain tricks to install malware, plug-ins, and other viruses that can compromise your computer or your security.

#3. ISP Problems

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) take a hard anti-piracy stance. They will first send a warning letter, and if you continue to break the law, they can then cut your service.

#4. Potential Legal Prosecution

Legal prosecution is a distinct possibility. After all, digital rights holders have proven to be more than capable of taking streamers and end-users to court over recent years, so be aware!


There are cheaper and more flexible options for anyone who wants to cut the cord with the traditional cable and satellite systems. Video-on-demand services can be enough—but for many, sports and live TV are must-haves.

There is no shortage of grey market IPTV out there; but as noted above, there are significant risks involved in using these illegal services.

So, we recommend that if you want to subscribe, you stick with legit services. Shop around and find the right deal that will allow you to cut the cord!